Poll strategist Prashant Kishor is having a hard time with his new clients, Trinamool Congress. Kishor was drafted to revive the party’s fortunes after its reverses in the Lok Sabha election at the hands of the BJP. TMC leaders are upset that an outsider is telling them what to do, where to go and whom to meet. Kishor has reportedly been issuing “diktats” to party legislators to spend nights at constituents’ homes to gauge the mood of the electorate.
“A novice in Bengal politics is telling us where to go, what to do and how to take care of our constituencies,” says a senior TMC leader from South 24 Parganas, on condition of anonymity. “[Kishor is] selecting a few people based on his surveys, and instructing us to visit them.”
Kishor has put together a 650-member team to tour Bengal and identify the reasons for the people’s disenchantment with the TMC. Party leaders have been asked to visit aggrieved voters and bring them around. But that hasn’t gone to plan. “Tourism minister Goutam Deb paid a visit,” says Shankar Bag of Phapri village near Siliguri. “He stayed with us [for a night], had tea, did yoga, listened to our grievances about promoters forcing us to sell land—that was it. There was no follow-up.” North Bengal development minister Rabindranath Ghosh could barely spend 30 minutes at each stop Kishor’s team had recommended. ‘Jai Shri Ram’-shouting m